10 questions with Show Business director, Alexander Tovar at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
1Hi Alexander! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Spring Festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make this film? I wanted to make a second film as a follow up to my first, one "Nothing in Los Angeles." After doing that film, I thought about what it would be like after a film festival if somebody offered me a writing job for a lot of money that I didn't want to do. What would that be like? And I took it from there.
2You wrote this film as well. What was your writing process like and how long did it take to write this script? I would work on the script and then take a break and score some of the music. I'd continue this routine for a few hours every morning. Even if nothing came out. I'm a disciplined worker. Fortunately, this was one of my faster writing processes and took about a month to write the script and music.
3Is it really that crazy out there in L.A? What's the craziest L.A. moment you've had out there? Yes, LA is full of people who have grandiose ideas about themselves and who are big talkers. Everybody has an idea for a movie or TV series but very few people actually execute it. That's where the hard work comes in which let's face it, nobody wants to do. The scene where Kiersten is arguing at the table talking about how it's important to have "deadlines" in this business to stay motivated was taken verbatim by an actress who was telling me about how they had to make this film to submit it for this festival.They shot the film precisely for this one festival. Everything was shot but it never got finished. She stressed how deadlines are important in this business.
4Show Business is your second feature film. What did you learn from your first film that better prepared you for this one? I learned having an assistant director is vital. On the first film, I was simply juggling too many different roles: worrying about lunch as well as learning my lines, and wondering if we were going to get caught without any permits. Having a great AD, like our Nick Cane, took so much stress off me.
5Since you act in this film too, how are you able to objectively judge your performance? How do you know when you've done a good take? Since I wrote the material, I know in my head how it should sound. Usually I know when I've said the line the way I heard it when I wrote it and if it sounded funny out loud or just in my bedroom. If I feel the momentum is there and it feels real and authentic, then I move on. If it feels dragging or fake, I rewrite the scene or make another adjustment.
6Can you share a war story from the shoot? Our shoot was fortunately very short and easy. We hired excellent people who not only had mastered their skill but were also very sweet people. The only story that was odd was when we were planning on shooting the Beverly Parson's scene where the actress tries to seduce Guy. We originally planned to get an AirbnB location and told the guy we'd be filming at his house in the hills for a few hours. When we arrived, he was grumpy and immediately turned off by the whole thing. He yelled at our crew guys parking their truck in front of his house, and yelled at our producer. There really was no reason. He was just, I hate to say it, a rich Hollywood weirdo who decided to change his mind about the whole thing. So we shot the seduction scene in my apartment.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? Fellini's 81/2 was the film I saw when I was 16 that changed my life. Before then, I had seen and loved all of the Woody Allen films but it wasn't until I saw 81/2 did I think, Wow, you can make movies like this?
8There are so many funny scenes in this film. Which scene was the most fun to shoot? The scenes between Guy and Sandy Plachowsky were fun;where we're talking and sitting and smoking at the HMS Bounty. I've known her since high school and we have such great chemistry. We'd giggle after every scene. It was just fun and easy to shoot.
9You also a musician and were a music assistant to Phillip Glass on the film Undertow (I movie I really love). What was that experience like working with such a legend and how important is a score in your opinion? Philip Glass is not only one of the most prolific innovative composers of all time, but also a very sweet person. I interned at this studio and helped prep the scoring sessions for "Undertow" with Nico Muhly. I hated living in New York and returned to LA after the internship was done. To me, music can be what makes or breaks a movie. If a cheesy pop song is scored over a kissing scene, that doesn't move me whereas if a piece of Mozart or Philip Glass or even Jon Brion was scored, it'd change my mind completely about the scene.
10What's next? We are trying to promote our first film "Nothing in Los Angeles," which is on Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Until we get some money rolling in, we won't do a third one. But I have 3 scripts ready to go complete with a score.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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